Small Victories

I’ve written and rewritten the same dumb post about running — how I’ve kinda-accidentally not done it for a week, how my relay team bailed on Oakland (even though it ended up not raining) (but with an early start and 4 people’s schedules to coordinate we had to make the call during Saturday’s downpour and I’ve managed not to be too bitter because I wouldn’t have wanted to stand in pelting rain for four hours either), how despite the unplanned rest my leg feels exactly the same and that leaves me with more questions than answers — but ultimately I was grossed out by my own whininess.

So! Instead, let’s talk about good things that have been happening lately in areas that do not involve running. Such as:

Buying a wetsuit!
I debated renting one — at $50 a month, it wouldn’t have been a bad deal, and I could have applied the fees toward purchase later — but it turns out I actually like owning things. I’m the opposite of the person who trashes the rental car because it isn’t their real responsibility; when something isn’t mine, I’m way too precious about it. I also could have ordered a specific suit with our training group discount, but I wouldn’t have been able to try it on, and though there was a fit guarantee, imagining the potential back-and-forth gave me flashbacks to my weekends of “this one doesn’t fit … neither does this one … or this one …” bike shopping. So on Sunday, I did my workout, watched some basketball, had just enough of a beer that I wouldn’t be stressed about climbing into and out of skin-tight things for an hour, and headed to Sports Basement.

My proportions are … non-standard. I shudder at the size charts on the back of tights, for heaven’s sake. My height and weight don’t exactly match, not to mention any other ratios you might want to consider. The woman who helped fit me at Sports Basement was a champ, and she managed to eyeball the right size in two out of the three suits in my range on the first try. Luckily I’d been warned that getting a wetsuit on is a workout, so I didn’t get too worked up about the “one inch, then another, over the hips, shimmy and sweat” routine going on in the fitting room. In the end I had a couple of options — options! This was not the kind of purchase where I was expecting to have options — and left with a BlueSeventy suit with a spirograph-esque flower on the ass.

The whole wetsuit thing is going to be interesting for someone who generally wears as little clothing as possible during a workout, gets overheated easily, and hates feeling even remotely suffocated, but I’m hopeful; the suit I picked is designed for a slightly better range-of-motion than the first one I tried (in which my arms wanted to float out from my sides on their own), and I didn’t have the OMG-can’t-breathe moment I was expecting when I got it zipped up all the way. We go in the bay for the first time the weekend after next, and I’m excited to see how I take to this next phase of training.

Getting comfortable clipping in!
I know: Whaaaaa? I’ve been asking myself that, too. My last couple of rides have definitely not been in ideal conditions, and I did wimp out on riding hills in Saturday’s terrible rain, but clipping turns out to be the least of my worries. I might even — say what? — like it better. Yeah. I do.

I don’t have to do a ton of riding in traffic for most of my usual routes, but there’s a six-block stretch leaving my apartment that’s unavoidable. I literally learned it one block at a time when I started riding; the last three blocks are in a bike lane but on a one-way street with a ton of commuter car traffic and a busy gas station with lots of waiting cars. My biking friends in the neighborhood said I could just ride with only one foot clipped until I got through that part, and I fully intended to do that when I set out last Thursday, but it turns out that the only way I can guarantee I will clip in is to plan not to. Rather than freak out, I went with it, and any time there was a red light or a slowing car or some other annoying thing, I, y’know, stopped. I didn’t tip over into traffic or run into the car’s bumper or do any of the other things I was sure I would do when I first started contemplating the idea of clipping.

I’m sure I will still do at least one of those things, one of these days. But things are good now.

If only I could learn how to ride downhill.

Swimming faster!
Not fast. Good lord, not fast. But faster. For the last two weeks, my 100 intervals have been anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds faster than they were when I tested my base pace at the start of training. I haven’t broken through beyond that yet, but it’s a totally comfortable, achievable pace for intervals when I know I’m getting rest at the end.

I’m also learning that with swimming, as with everything else, I’m slow-twitch to the core. Last night I made up my own swim workout — because I am a slave to routine who, upon seeing her Tuesday schedule didn’t have a swim workout as usual, assumed it must be a mistake and did one anyway rather than looking ahead to see that, in fact, there was a very specific swim workout on the schedule for Friday; oops — and the 200s I swam for time had a better average pace than any of my 100s. In the second week of training, I did the base pace test with 400s and got the same result I’d gotten with 100s and 200s. It appears that the longer I go in any sport, the more I settle into a rhythm.

So yeah, there are good things.
Just something to keep in mind when I go back to whining about running tomorrow, self.

3 thoughts on “Small Victories

  1. shelby says:

    I have a lot of posts about running that get started but never make it to the “publish” button. “Grossed out by my own whininess” describes it perfectly. 🙂

    Yay for progress on the bike and swim, though!

  2. katie says:

    sounds like LOTS of good progress. keep it going!

  3. Kristina says:

    There is a part of me that hates all of the gear involved with tri stuff, but then there is this other part that just revels in all of it. I borrowed a friend’s wetsuit last year for my first tri, but as soon as I signed up for the second one (the week after Wildflower), I also bought a wetsuit (wow, that was an expensive week now that I think about it). I actually put it on today for the first time since August!
    Anyway, good for you for making the purchase – hope you have fun with it!
    And way to make progress with swimming and the bike. Can’t wait to hear about the open water adventures.

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